GET WELL SOON

September 2014 brought an incredibly heavy snow storm to the streets of Calgary. This is early for snow, even in Canada. The event was coined “Snowtember”. Most of the urban trees still had their leaves, making the snow stick and weigh down the branches, frequently causing them to break. It was estimated that 50% of the 500,000 public trees and 1.5 million private trees were impacted. Since completing an urban tree course at the University of Toronto, I have highly valued the role and benefits of street trees. They clean the air, provide shade, address biophilic desires and guard pedestrians from traffic. I wanted to recognize and draw attention to these generous trees. Visiting a local stationary shop, I bought out the entire stock of “get well soon” balloons. I then spent the afternoon walking around my favourite neighbourhoods and placing the balloons on the trees that were most devestatingly impacted. Many people noticed, laughed, took pictures - one image even ended up in the local newspaper. This lighthearted approach to caring for our urban environment shows how simple actions can impact perceptions of our cities and resonate strongly with residents.